Januarius is a name under which some fourteen martyrs are honored in the Roman Catholic Church. A yens Januaria, or family of that name, is found among the old inscriptions. There is a monument in Turin to the memory of a certain Januarius Vintius. The name seems to have belonged especially to Africa and Southern Italy. Its popularity is proved by the large number of martyrs bearing it, which is surpassed by few others (perhaps Alexander, Felix, John, etc.). The best known. among them is St. Januarius, bishop of Bene vento, who was beheaded in the early part of the 4th century (according to the Neapolitan tradition, at Pozzuoli, where many Christians suffered a like fate, in 305). The saint's day is Sept. 19. Januarius is the patron saint of Naples. His head and blood, preserved in vials and looked upon as holy relics, are kept in the chapel El Tesoro, in the cathedral of Naples, where they were placed Jan. 13, 1497. According to tradition, a pious woman gathered at the place of his execution two bottles of his blood, and presented them to bishop Severus of Naples. On three festivals each year, the chief of which is the day of the martyrdom, Sept. 19, and on occasions of public danger or calamity, as earthquakes or eruptions, the head and the phials of the blood are carried in solemn procession to the high altar of the cathedral, or of the church of St. Clare, where, after prayer of greater. or less duration, the blood, on the phials being brought into contact with the head, is believed to liquefy, and in this condition is presented for the veneration of the people, or for the conviction of the doubter. It occasionally happens that a considerable time elapses before the liquefaction takes place, and sometimes it altogether fails. The latter is regarded as an omen of the worst import; and on those occasions when the miracle is delayed beyond the ordinary time, the alarm and excitement of the congregation rise to the highest pitch, as it is represented in such a case to be an evil sign for the city and the people. The blood is exposed three times every year, particularly on the first Sunday in May, and in cases of especial public affliction. The process of the performance of this so-called miracle is kept secret by the clergy of Naples. Of late years the liquefaction of the blood was interpreted as a sign of the saint's goodwill towards the government; but it has done so for Ferdinand II, for Garibaldi, and for Victor Emanuel with equal ease, which would seem to indicate that the saint is indifferent to the political fate at least of his devout worshippers. Addison, in his Travels, speaks of the performance (in his notices of Naples) thus: "I had twice an opportunity of seeing the operation of this pretended miracle, and must confess that, so far from thinking it a real miracle, I look upon it as one of the most bungling tricks I ever saw."
Another Januarius, said to have suffered under Felix, has Jan. 7 assigned to him in the Martyrologium of the Romish Church. Still another, said to have suffered martyrdom in Africa with Paul and Gerontius, has Jan. 19. Veda names April 8 for a Januarius of Africa, along with Macaria and Maxima. July 10 is kept in honor of two saints of like name, one of which belonged to the seven sons of Felicitas, who are said to have been put to death towards the end of the 2nd century at Rome; the other suffered martyrdom in Africa with Felix and Nabor. Their remains were transferred to Milan. 'July 11 is sacred to a Januarius who died at Nicopolis. Another suffered martyrdom at Carthage, together with Philippus, Catulinus, etc., July 15. A Januarius, together with Felicissimus and Agapetus, fell a martyr under Decius at Rome, and the Church observes Aug. 6 in his memory. October 13 is the anniversary of the Spanish martyrs Faustus and Januarius, who suffered at Cordova. On Oct. 24 there is mention made of a Januarius who after being long persecuted, was, together with Felix, Audactus, etc., put to death and buried near Carthage. The island of Sardinia has also a Januarius, in whose honor they keep Oct. 25. On Dec. 2 we find a Januarius, with Severus, etc.; and another in Africa Dec. 15. See Herzog, Real-Encylopaidie, 6, 433 sq.; Pierer, Univ. Lex. s.v.; Wetzer.und Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 5, 500; Zell, Rinmische Epigraphik, 2, 88; Monumenta Taurinzensia, 2, 119; J. G. Keysler, Neueste Reisen (Hanov. 1751); Acta Sancta, vo1. 6; Chambers, Cyclopied. s.v.; Broughton, Biblioth. Hist. Sac. 1, 502.